Carmelita Arellano, Lisa Murray, Kimberly Muller, Melissa Ramirez, Monica Johnson, Ada Quinones
“WASTE-FULL Community Garden”, the innovative program idea of Arellano and her colleagues, involves using the school cafeteria’s food waste to create compost that will be used in planting a community garden. Through the program, students will become aware of how much trash is thrown away and what happens to it after it is collected. They will find out what happens at sanitary landfills and what type of trash is discarded the most. Sanitary landfills are sites where waste is isolated from the environment until it is safe – when it has completely degraded biologically, chemically and physically. Students will research and persuade other students about how food waste from the cafeteria can benefit the community and how to create the most effective compost. They will build compost bins, collect trash and compost while finding out which type of composting produces the most effective compost. At the culmination, they will learn how to grow the healthiest and most productive garden utilizing the compost products. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to educate the students and community about waste and its impact on the environment in terms of landfills and pollution, reducing and reusing trash, and recycling biodegradable waste through composting.